Downsizing -Learning to Let Go

Learning to let go is one of the biggest obstacles to downsizing. Deciding what should stay and what should go is hard!  We are drowning in our clutter wondering why we are feeling stressed, exhausted, and overwhelmed.

Taking an inventory of your possessions and prioritizing them are major steps in downsizing your life.  Downsizing is emotional, all those memories and attachments are hard to let go of. If you really take inventory of what you need. Ask yourself some key questions.  You can let go and be free of possessions.  Here are some useful tips to get the process started.

When you are considering an item ask yourself the following questions:

  • How often do I use this? If you have not touched it in 6 months and it is not a seasonal item, then remove it from your life.
  • Would you pay to replace it? If it was lost, stolen, or destroyed would you pay to replace the item?
  • Are you saving it for someone else? Family heirloom you want to pass down? What are you waiting for?  You could give the item and experience them enjoying it.

Now that you have these questions in mind pick a room and set up three piles.  Toss. Keep. Maybe. Be mindful of the “maybe” pile, if it starts getting bigger than the other piles, remove it and give yourself only two options.  You should also consider a donation pile. In most cases, you can call local thrift stores and ask if they come and pick up donations. Consider holding a garage sale, offering items on craigslist or on eBay.  By tackling one room at a time you maintain focus and have a sense of accomplishment.

Consider asking for help from children or relatives. If you have children most of the stuff is probably related to them anyway, so why not get them involved. One of the biggest obstacles is sentimental objects. If you are keeping things for your kids, ask them if they want them, or better yet give them to them now if possible.  If you are someone who has kept every school project, baby outfit, girl scout uniform ask yourself if you are keeping it for you or them?  Consider taking a picture of the item and keeping it instead. It is the memories you are holding on to, not the actual item.

Do not agonize over the process.  Pour yourself some wine, set a timer and just begin.  Take breaks and keep your time blocks manageable, 2 hours or less.  Embrace what is truly valuable to you. Make every possession a conscious choice in your life. Believe it or not, you will start to feel lighter and freer as you let go.

Downsizing is a chore, but once the work is done you will have a sense of accomplishment and pride in your space.  Moving forward, remember to ask yourself the following before adding anything new:

  • Will this add value?
  • Does it bring me peace, joy, or purpose?

What are you waiting for?  Start your downsizing your life now.

Downsizing Reminder tips:
  1. Involve relatives
  2. Give away now
  3. One space at a time
  4. Use a timer
  5. Keep, toss, maybe or donation piles
  6. Garage sales, craigslist or eBay items


This blog post was inspired by Downsizing Tips: How to ease the Move to a Smaller Home.


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